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Gray divorce: 3 things to know about divorce later in life

Gray divorces, or divorces between individuals who are 50 years of age or older, have their own specific set of issues. When older couples divorce, there are usually more assets to consider as well as a decreased ability to bring in an income in the future.

Statistics show that the number of people divorcing ages 50 and older is increasing. In 2015, the number was 10 out of every 1,000, whereas in 1990, it was five out of every 1,000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Why are gray divorces growing in number?

1. Many are second marriages

Second marriages are statistically less likely to work out. With an aging population, it's more likely that the individuals have been married at least once before, making a divorce more likely.

2. Children grow up

In past decades, it wasn't as common to divorce your partner if you no longer loved each other or got along. Today, that's not a social faux pas. Many older individuals do wait until their children are older and out of the home before divorcing. At that point, they may no longer feel the need to be with their spouses, since their children don't necessarily need united parents in the same household.

3. They grow apart

People tend to grow apart over time, and many older couples feel the same way. One may get to a point where he or she only wants to stay home and enjoy retirement, whereas another might plan to travel and see the world. Two dramatically different options and views of the world may no longer make for a comfortable or happy marriage.

Divorce planning is different at an older age, but it isn't necessarily a bad idea to get a divorce. There are reasons to consider before you file, but if you're ready, make sure to protect yourself and know your legal rights.

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